Armagh student graduates as Truesdale prize winner

Dora Nesbitt receives the award from Nevin Truesdale
Dora Nesbitt receives the award from Nevin Truesdale

Food science student Dora Nesbitt graduates from Harper Adams University as the winner of the Victor Truesdale Prize.

The prize is awarded annually to the final year student from Ireland who 
has made the greatest contribution to university life while studying at Harper Adams.

“Winning the award was quite a surprise to me because I was up against some fantastic candidates,” said Dora, 22, from Armagh.

“It is a great honour and a privilege to have my efforts, both with Harper Ireland and for the university as a whole, to be recognised in this way.”

The award is presented in memory of Victor Truesdale, former sales director of John Thompson and Sons Ltd, who died in 2001. The prize consists of a specially commissioned crystal punch bowl and a cheque presented by sponsors John Thompson and Sons Ltd.

In her first year at Harper Adams, having travelled across to England, Dora quickly became involved in university clubs and societies.

She was a first team player for the women’s hockey, travelling throughout the UK to compete against other universities.

She also led training sessions for her team mates.

Dora also made a substantial contribution to the Harper Ireland student society, as both a member and on the executive.

At one point, due to unforeseen circumstances, she acted as both public relations officer and secretary for the club.

“I was always involved in keeping members up to date on events, acting as a voice for the club, raising awareness of the organisation by writing articles for the local press and helping to organise the club dinner, social activities and of course our biggest event – St Paddy’s ball,” she said.

Dora has represented the university as a student ambassador, guiding campus tours for visitors and meeting future students at events including the BBC Good Food Show and Balmoral Show.

Dora enjoyed a split placement year – spending six months as a marketing assistant with Rich Sauces, Newtownards, and six undertaking a study abroad programme in food science at Cornell University in New York State, USA.

She said: “Both experiences were fantastic and will undoubtedly prove beneficial for my future career.”

She developed her knowledge and career direction in the USA where, in addition to taking university classes, Dora took part in projects including a teaching placement and a cooking course.

Dora’s passion for food education is taking her to Ulster University next year, where she will train to become a teacher of food and nutrition.

She will graduate from Harper Adams University in September with a first-class honours degree.